Apparently the US government thinks I owe them nearly $500 because I got upset that they hogtied me overnight.
In 2002 I participated in “The People’s Strike” in Washington, DC against the International Monetary Fund (who are basically loansharks writ large). I got arrested, along with 700 other people. Almost none of us were charged with any kind of crime. Most people they ransomed back into the world for like $70 or something. I’m stubborn, so I refused. I also didn’t answer any questions (like “what is your name”) or cooperate with them.
All 700 of us ended in a giant gym somewhere, I guess some cop training school. They hogtied us, handcuffing our dominant hand to our opposite ankle, then left us overnight. In the morning, they rounded up us 100+ “John Does” and took us elsewhere, where they stripsearched us in groups, forcing us to pull down our pants and “squat and cough.” I was held there all day in tightly-packed cells. Eventually, near midnight I believe, they let me go. They never charged me with any crime. I never saw a judge. In total, I was fed one ham sandwich (which I refused) and a small portion of a bagel over the course of the entire 36 hours or so I was held.
In one memorable moment, a guard told me that they were never going to let me go, that I would get raped by some guy named Bubba.
Some years later (2008, I believe), I joined a class action lawsuit against the D.C. Marshall Todd Dillard, who oversaw the whole thing. I was one of five named plaintiffs, representing all the rest of us who were subject to this strip search. You see, back in the day, “reasonable suspicion” was required before you could stripsearch people. But the DC court found otherwise, after a trial that stretched on for years.
And now, because I dared to question the way that the government handled me while I was in captivity, they’ve decided I am (along with my co-plaintiffs) liable to pay their court fees.
Anyone familiar with the American prison-industrial complex won’t be surprised to hear any of this, and it’s absolutely true that my story is essentially nothing compared to what comrades are facing here in the states and in other countries. But it’s this thing that happened, and it’s fucking annoying to say the least.